Weight loss (Bariatric) Surgery

Emergency room visit kickstarts Lindsey's road to weight loss

Lindsey Lancaster, smiling with her children in living room. She is down over 115 pounds from her heaviest after bariatric surgery.
Lindsay, after bariatric surgery.

Lindsey Lancaster of Rockton, Illinois was just 32 when she experienced her bariatric surgery “moment of truth”.

On Mother’s Day 2019, Lindsey went to the Emergency Room with shortness of breath and upper back pain. Her blood pressure and blood sugar were dangerously high. She weighed 285 at the time.

“I’m lying in the Emergency Room on Mother’s Day and my daughter Nora was just 5. They admitted me for observation for 3 days, but as soon as I left the hospital, I filled out UW Health’s form for the bariatric surgery program because I wanted to be around for many more Mother’s Days.”

Lindsey Lancaster at her heaviest, before bariatric surgery.
Lindsey before bariatric surgery.

One of Lindsey’s takeaways from her education phase was to stop thinking of foods as “good” or “bad”.

“It’s all part of intuitive eating,” Lindsey says, “which means making peace with your food and listening to your body. We learn that dieting never works for the long term. It’s actually ok to have a cookie or piece of cake if it’s done in moderation. There’s a big difference between having one cookie instead of six or seven.”

Lindsey also learned how to recognize what it means to be hungry or full. It’s never a good idea to starve yourself, she adds, because then you eat more than you should.

Like other successful patients, Lindsey is grateful for a much higher quality of life since beginning the program. It’s been nearly three years since Lindsey’s surgery, and she is down 115 pounds from her peak of 300 in 2018.

“It’s the non-scale victories that mean more than the number on the scale,” Lindsey says. These include:

  • Taking a 3-mile walk without worrying about finishing

  • Picking out clothes off the rack

  • Sitting next to someone without feeling self-conscious about taking up some of their space

The first time she explored bariatric surgery, Lindsey contacted a program in Chicago, but her insurance would not cover it. She ultimately chose UW Health based on her doctor’s recommendation and the convenience.

“It was a much shorter drive to UW — just 50 minutes from Rockton to Madison and so much easier than going to Chicago .”

Lindsey doesn’t hesitate recommending UW Health to anyone who is considering learning more about bariatric surgery.

“My questions were always answered, and I got plenty of individual care and attention,” she says.